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The Folding Gun

The Folding Gun

Photo credit: Michael Ives

This prolific firearm inventor was born in 1837 in New York. He was the grandson of John Christian Burgus, who was a Hessian deserter from the American Revolution. His family’s farm bordered the Mathew Brady homestead, and by 1855, he had begun an apprenticeship with the famed photographer. 

In 1864, he began to snap photos of the war-torn South. Later that year, he headed to Mexico to document the French Intervention and execution of Emperor Ferdinand Maximilian. After covering the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, he returned to the U.S. in 1871, where his attention began to shift to arms design. That’s also the year he took a bride—the granddaughter of the Tiffany Jewelry founder.

When he received his first patent that same year, he likely had no idea he would go on to be granted almost 900 more in his lifetime. His 35-year career in the firearms industry saw him manufacture his own guns, as well as produce designs for noted companies like Colt and Marlin. He ultimately founded his own firearms company in the late 1800s.

Click here to learn more about this genius creator, who passed away in 1908 at the age of 71, and one of his interesting firearms.

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